I have just made a Story to Please Myself because I never grew up.
I stayed in a little town in Scotland by the name of Birnam, a pretty little place just down the road from Dunkeld. When I arrived, I went passed a beautiful little park but took no real notice until after I settled into my B&B. I needed to figure out where the train station was so I first wonder up to the little park and notice some great little brass figurines in the park. They were rabbits and my first was Peter Rabbit but of course never really thought that was what they were. The more I wonder, the more figurines I found and eventually found the write up regarding Beatrix Potter.
Beatrix Potter was born in London in 1866. As a child she became interested in the natural world and spent much of her time drawing and sketching.
It was her family’s long summer breaks in Scotland (May to the end of the salmon season in October) that were to be one of the most enduring influences on Beatrix development both as an artist and scientist. Here she was free to go off and explore the countryside around her.
Charles Macintosh, born in 1839 was a postman for the Dalguise Postal District, the ideal occupation for a budding natural historian, his long daily walks delivering the mail allowing him to study the local flora and fauna.
Gradually Beatrix interest turned to mycology, the study of fungi, and it was this which brought Beatrix Potter and Charles Macintosh together for the first time. It was this meeting which led to a long correspondence which gave great pleasure to both.
It was also whilst in Scotland that Beatrix wrote a ‘picture letter’ which provided the basis for her first book ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’. Similarly, a later book ‘The Tale of Jeremy Fisher also started life as a picture letter with characters clearly based on her study and exploration on the banks of the River Tay.
The tale of Mrs Tiggy Winkle’ was published in 1905 and is almost certainly based on the Potters’ old washer woman at Dalguise, Kitty MacDonald.
Birnam Arts and Conference Centre
Beatrix Potter Gardens
Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter Rabbit